There’s a broad spectrum of engagement possibilities for content agencies on website projects. And (spoiler alert) we can add value at any point. Let’s look at how things play out.
In the very best of times, you bring us in on the ground floor. We’re part of the planning process, and contribute to the discovery and strategy stages.
In this scenario, we’re working with your marketing and sales teams and your internal content gurus. We’re sitting in on calls with the search engine optimisation (SEO) experts and talking wireframes with the user experience (UX) teams. In other words, we’re helping to shape the conversation that your new website will spark with your customers.
This is critical because it means that all the strands of the web project begin the journey together. We’re not just following the roadmap – we’re helping to plan it out.
But just as common are the website projects where the content agency comes in late in the day. It’s easy to identify those projects from the first ‘content call’. The UX and design team have thousand-yard stares. The project managers are on edge and lashing out at the slightest suggestion of scope creep. The Gantt charts have no contingency and the go-live dates make lovely ‘whooshing’ sounds as they fly by (with apologies to Douglas Adams).
Bringing in a content agency at the end of the project can absolutely deliver value. We can make sure your copy is consistent with your style guide. We can make you sound professional and help you make better connections. We can root out any embarrassing typos and brand howlers and generally polish your content, improve the website. But we’re also quite limited in what we can do at this point. It’s a lost opportunity.
Even if you think about your website redesign as being a look-and-feel project, you also need to think about how you communicate your proposition to your customers and prospects. It’s as much about the words, not just the colour palette.
Involving your content agency at the offset of a web redesign project has a number of benefits.
Your messaging is consistent, and everything will sound more natural. Just as importantly: your new home page fits around your key messages – your content doesn’t need to be cut to fit a locked-down design. This also makes the SEO and customer experience (CX) people happy. And your brand people are in fine fettle because your tone of voice and values have been captured in your content in good time, rather than been shoehorned in at the end.
Any agency worth its salt will have conducted a content audit to identify the good stuff already sitting on your website that can be updated, repurposed or simply retired. Auditing your content will give you genuine insights into what presses your customers’ buttons – and what doesn’t.
Getting to know your personas, understanding your goals, working out the content you already have and what your competitors are up to are critical to developing a documented content strategy. Not only will this document help you create a baseline of where you start from, it will talk about where you want to go. A content strategy will help you engage effectively with your in-house experts, align your content against your buyer journeys and help you create a roadmap for content development beyond the relaunch to make sure that your new site remains fresh.
A good website redesign project should be a symphony with many instrumentalists. We’re not claiming the content agency represents the entire strings section, but neither are we the guy who stands up only at the end and bangs the drum. Let’s make music together.